Consumers Energy is sure using a lot of newspaper space these days. The first story I read had to do with an increase in the price of natural gas. And all this time I had been reading that gas prices are down really low. Their math says that even though the prices are low, we should be using less and the end result will be that we pay a little less this season than we did last year and they get $89 million. And, oh yes, they get to put on the increase before they get approval from the PSC now.
The next story I read had to do with a surplus in their tree trimming fund of $14 million. Good grief.
The next story has to do with Schauer and Stabenow stumping for $187 million from the stimulus package for Consumers to put new meters in that will perform magic. I think I first heard about these when California was talking about being able to manipulate the use of energy from a central location if citizens were using more than they should at any given time. How about that!
And speaking of Schauer the theory used to be that for every constituent who took the time to make a phone call or write a letter you could assume, with the number changing over the years, that it spoke for X number of voters. Now we find that Schauer has a better idea. His staff told a friend of mine that he doesn't pay any attention to the calls and letters instead preferring to think that the silent majority is more numerous and he has determined that he will represent that viewpoint. How should we get around that? Maybe we should start calling with the opposite message. Nah! He's just come up with another excuse for voting lockstep with Ms. Pelosi, right?
Now to Ms. Schriver. I usually don't talk about what happens on the Sunday morning talking head shows, but today is an exception. Maria and John Podesta have a new book out with all kinds of theories, some extremely legitimate, about women catching up with men as far as numbers in the work force, pay scales and comparisons but most of all the divisions of labor in the modern household. One of their premises was all about being able to talk to employers about flexibility in work schedules.
Talk about the inmates running the asylum. My impression from their conversation is that this needs to be addressed before hiring into a job. Some jobs can be extremely flexible. Others necessarily are more rigid. So called "worker friendly" companies will make money if they have a dedicated work force and the bottom line is what is going to keep everyone working.
In a service economy there is much more room for flexibility in scheduling. In the remaining manufacturing sector we may have a problem shutting down a production line so someone can go to a PTA meeting. Just as an aside, when I was working a service job I could start early, take a couple of hours off if I needed to when I had done certain chores ahead of time and return to the office to do work that didn't depend on any interaction with others and could contact folks in other time zones. It was a great fit. My point: BOTH sides need to be flexible.
Through the years we have seen couples work different shifts so someone was always home with the children. Not a perfect answer, but sometimes sacrifices need to be made for whatever reason.
One other point they made was that couples now need to sit down at the kitchen table 2-3 times a week to discuss issues such as "who does what" around the house, parent care, chauffeuring kids, etc., etc. This sounds so much like the proverbial excess meetings of many companies it made me want to throw a brick at the television. In an emergency, yes, but generally speaking the ground rules can be agreed upon early in the game and an occasional update might be necessary if circumstances change, but 2-3 times a week??? That time might be better spent doing something together as a family or having fun with a kid or two.
I know I'm old, but some things should be obvious. And not to be catty, but knowing it may come off that way: wonder how much time could be saved if all of those gorgeous women wouldn't have to be constantly pushing the hair away from their faces and how much time does it take to shampoo and dry those tresses every day?
One last thing. Maria said the fathers are not setting good examples when they go off to work every day--not sure of the exact quote. It just may be that the example of getting up early every day and getting to work on time might be the best thing that ever happens to a kid. That has to be the biggest slap in the face to a half the parents in the world ever.
Valerie Jarrett was on the panel as well. We could do a whole post on her condescending attitude toward Maria.
See you tomorrow-